Pete Capparelli
Idyllwild Fire District Commission President Pete Capparelli has asked his colleagues to select him to replace former Commissioner Ben Killingsworth, who resigned in September.

The commission will decide on Killingsworth’s replacement at its Nov. 8 meeting.

In addition to Capparelli, three other men have submitted applications. Two have experience working as firefighters or with fire agencies.

Mark Spehar, who along with Capparelli and four others, ran in the August election, won, has submitted an application. He is a Riverside County firefighter assigned to Station 23 (Pine Cove).

Mark Spehar

Maxey Sparks has worked with Messina Water Service and Fire Suppression since 1999. While his principal vocation has been retail sales, his association with Messina Water has allowed extensive interaction with CAL FIRE and volunteer fire departments. This includes fighting major and local structural and wildland fires.

Jeff Fehr is the fourth applicant. He moved to the Hill from Arizona and was a long-time Oregon resident. His resume did not discuss his fire management experience.

In the August IFPD commissioner election, incumbents Paul Riggi and Capparelli fell to challengers Jerry Buchanan and Larry Donahoo. Capparelli was the third out of the six candidates and Spehar fifth.

“As you know I have invested my time and energy on the board for almost two years and have acquired an intimate insight as to how the department works,” Capparelli wrote in the Nov. 1 memorandum to his colleagues. “The more I learn the more I realize there is to be learned. By appointing me to fill the vacancy, two years of involvement would not have been wasted.”

Killingsworth was elected to a four-year term in August 2009 and it expires in December 2013. Besides Capparelli, the other three commissioners making the decision are Jeannine Charles-Stigall, Paul Riggi and Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly.


  1. Let's see…keep one of the guys that helped get IFPD into their mess (Pete) or select a firefighter that is a strong member of his fire union (can he be a manager and go against his "brothers" with tough decisions?),,,,

    Get someone new and not connected to IFPD in any way….you don't need any fire management experience to balance a checkbook and vote as an individual that represents the people!